2015 Essay Contest Winners

blue-ribbonWe received nearly 2,000 essays, so many of excellent quality that our judges did not find it an easy or quick task to pick the best essays.

Students, teachers and schools should all be commended on the broad range of entries, the quality of writing, and the insight into how faith burned in the hearts of so many men in women of history, to the point that it compelled them to act heroically in the face of poverty, ridicule and persecution. From Vince Lombardi to Saint Paul, we enjoyed the vast presentation of noble souls whose Catholic faith determined their actions. Thank you to all participants!

In the coming weeks the winning essays will be published on our blog for all to enjoy.


Grade 7/8 Catholic School Division: Kendal Rowan
                                                                 Saint Augustine School, New Orleans, LA

Kendal wrote on St. Katherine Drexel who used the entirety of her vast inheritance to found schools and universities for Native and African Americans across the United States, most of which still operate today.

Grade 5/6 Catholic School Division: Thomas Lyon
                                                                 St. John Vianney Parish School, Janesville WI

Thomas wrote on Frédéric Ozanam who, upon being attacked for his Faith by his college professors, began to understand that he had to really live the beatitudes. He founded the St. Vincent de Paul Society which now is the largest helper of the poor in the world, serving over 14,000,000 people annually in over 140 countries.

Grade 7/8 Catholic Homeschool Division: Delaney McCartney
                                                                           Gilbert, AZ

Delaney wrote about Queen Isabel of Spain, who was not only a strong and wise ruler of Spain, but also changed history by helping Christopher Columbus pursue his dream of exploration.

Grade 5/6 Catholic Homeschool Division: Zoe Wenholz
                                                                           Green Bay, WI

Zoe wrote about St. Isaac Jogues, who through his courage and great love for the Indians, planted the seeds of faith in North America.

The judges also chose Honorable Mentions in the Catholic School Divisions.

7/8 Grades:

Sam Van Straten from Notre Dame Regional School, WI.
Sam wrote on Louis Pasteur whose faith drove him to want to uplift the dignity of man through unprecedented scientific discoveries, like the process of pasteurization, vaccines and disinfectant protocols, all of which have saved millions of lives.

Gabriella Iacano from St. Teresa Regional School, Runnemede, NJ.
Gabriella wrote on Mother Teresa, a great soul who poured her life out to love and help the poorest of the poor and who won a milllion dollars with the Nobel Peace Prize, which she gave entirely to the poor.

5/6 Grades:

Isaiah Thompson from St. John Fisher School, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.
Isaiah wrote on St. Peter Claver, a Spaniard who learned of the Jesuits while studying in college and realized he must serve God until death like a slave. He did, spending the remainder of his life being an apostle to the slaves in Cartagena, feeding and ministering to them as the ships rolled into port, baptizing over 300,000 of them and, showing them by his love the joy of God’s promise of eternal life.

Anna Schmidt from Regina Academy at St. John the Baptist, Ottsville, PA
Anna also wrote on St. Katherine Drexel. This essay illustrated Katherine’s being asked by Pope Leo XIII to found an order of Sisters, how she spent over $20,000,000 of her own money to found over 50 missions and how she spent her 96 years totally in service to others.


Kendal, Thomas, Delaney and Zoe will each receive $100.

Kendal’s school, St. Augustine and Thomas’s school, St. John Vianney, will each receive a $400 gift certificate for the purchase of CTP textbooks.

Delaney’s and Zoe’s families will each receive their choice of a CTP textbook.

Winners and schools will be contacted.

Please email Katherine at contest@catholictextbookproject.com with any questions.